The Media is capable of balancing Trump's lies and culture war BS and cover other stories of substance like Puerto Rico. They just need better judgement about how much time to devote to each.
June 4, 2018

Jonathan Capehart filled in for Joy Reid today on AM Joy, and his panel had a Come to Jesus discussion about media responsibility in the Age of Trump. There was plenty of discussion about Roseanne Barr, Puerto Rico and the wrenching report that more than 4,500 Americans died there after Hurricane Maria (70 times more than officially reported) and the imbalance in the amount of air time those two stories got.

They re-identified DJT's pattern of pulling a culture war stunt whenever something big happened in the Russian investigation or yet another blatant corruption scheme was exposed about his family. TBS and Amazon were given props for ignoring OrangeAid's attacks. More discussion about why it's hard to know how to handle the volume of lies coming out of the White House, and the balance that needs to be struck between covering that, and other things of import, such as, well, potential nuclear war.

I generally thought the panel and Capehart were great, as usual...Jess McIntosh and Zerlina Maxwell (Former HRC Campaign people) brought the fire, and Eric Boehlert and Gabriel Sherman (both journalists) made superb points. I did do a little eyeroll when Boehlert described it as "fatigue" with the lies when the NYT described one of DJT's recent pardon's as "idiosyncratic."

It's not fatigue, Eric. It's part of a NYT pattern of inability and refusal to call the "president" a liar, and to call out his crap for what it is. Even MSNBC has this problem.

What is most worth watching, though, in this nearly 14-minute roundtable, is the last 4 minutes. Zerlina Maxwell NAILS it when she skewers the media for overdoing the need to manufacture stories about Democrats in order to appear balanced. Boehlert followed up with the truth about the game Republicans have been winning for the last generation or two. Making "liberal" a dirty word.

Partial transcript below.

MAXWELL: I would also say this. There has to be, you know, a full accounting of the fact that trying to be, quote, objective and fair in a campaign where one side is lying about literally everything and the other side has some, you know, suspicious e-mail practices, Suboptimal e-mail practices, and so doing two days or three days on the latest racist thing Donald Trump said, and then being forced to flip and turn to e-mails for the next 72 hours just to make sure that you appear balanced, that is how we got here. Because both of those stories are not equivalent. Donald Trump calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, calling women fat pigs, attacking Alicia Machado, those are not equivalent to to sub-optimal email practices. And I think now we joke, "But her e-mails." There's dark humor in that joke because we ignored somebody who was completely unqualified to be president just to appear balanced, and we attacked somebody who was qualified and certainly there was substance in the e-mail argument.


MAXWELL: But I wouldn't say they were on the same playing field.

CAPEHART: Compared to what we're talking about now? No. Gabe?

BOEHLERT: I think that's the result of what the right has been doing for a generation, which is to make reporters, including myself, feel guilty about appearing liberal. We're all scared of looking over our shoulder. are we going to get called out by Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. that has a chilling effect. You look for other stories to give the appearance of balance.

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